ZoosFlash May 2020

BEAUTIFUL SPRING DAYS

The staff at the Jackson Zoo are making the most of the extended spring season as they work inside and outside exhibits. The animals seem to be enjoying the milder-than-normal temperatures, as well.

There is still much to do before we can invite the USDA for an inspection, but zoo staff and crews with the City of Jackson keep moving forward, especially as all businesses try to work safely around the coronavirus pandemic.

FRESH FACES

Discovery Keepers have counted at least three new additions to the Prairie Dog Town in the past week. Since the keepers do not interrupt or interfere in the exhibit unless there is an emergency, we often don’t know about pups until they emerge. Young often spend their first four to six weeks exclusively underground.

One of the projects in progress is the cleaning, repainting, and repairing of the Prairie Dog exhibit barrier so that visitors will be able to safely view the animals when we re-open.

ZOO ENRICHMENT FOR HUMANS

Modern zookeepers are very aware of the need for daily exercise of the body and brain, which is why ENRICHMENT is so important in daily animal care schedules. JZ Keepers keep the zoo animals engaged every day – often several times a day – with treats, activities, and scents. Of course, humans are animals, so it works on us, too!

We’ve taken a page from our keepers and come up with some ANIMAL CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES that get everyone engaged both physically and mentally, AND utilize common household items that might otherwise get tossed. You can enrich AND recycle while you’re at home with the family!

(Please feel free to reply to this email with finished crafts or ideas for new ones!)

SUPPORT ANIMAL ENRICHMENT

There are now TWO levels of support for the JZ Staff while the zoo is closed to the public, and both help the keepers and staff with smaller, animal-based projects. All donations go towards additional ENRICHMENT, or towards IMPROVEMENT, which allows us to beautify exhibits and the park in small ways*.

Individuals or groups can join the KEEPER BOOSTER CLUB, at either the Primate Level for $25, or Hoofstock Level for $50, which gets them a digital official certificate, zookeeper and enrichment facts that are easy to print and display.

There is also the Adoption: Keeper level for $75, and Adoption: Guardian level for $100. Each animal sponsorship comes with a certificate, animal facts, conservation notes, keeper facts, enrichment notes, AND either a 6″ zoo plush (Keeper) or a 10″ zoo plush (Guardian).

*Although donations to the zoo are not currently tax deductible, they are much needed and greatly appreciated by staff.

The JZ Keepers thank long-term partners Tyson Foods for their 12-month sponsorship of the American Alligators! They have generously donated the chicken for the weekly feedings for the 2020 season!

Many thanks also to Zoo Area Progressive Partnership for their commitment to us. They are currently giving out these YARD SIGNS to zoo fans in Jackson and the surrounding communities to show support for our animals. If you are interested in getting one, ZAPP is asking $5 per sign to fund the next order. Just reply to this email for details.

We do not currently have a re-open date at this time, but continue to share information as it becomes available to us.

ZoosFlash April 2020

There have been many inquiries to the status of the Jackson Zoo lately, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire staff sympathizes with all our local community partners, as well as our sister zoos and aquariums around the world, that are dealing with the difficult circumstances of sheltering in place.

Special thoughts and prayers to the Bronx Zoo as their animal care staff deals with the illness in both their staff and tigers. That is a constant and deep seated concern for those in animal care, and our hearts go out to them. Wishing a quick recovery for all.

We’ve been closed to the public since September 31st of 2019 for repairs and inspection preparation, so basic operations stay the same. At this time, no keepers or animals have shown any COVID-19 symptoms, but all staff are using all available precautions.

A small staff means that the daily routines have always been pretty solitary, but the coronavirus has forced us to tweak some things. For instance, keepers and staff try to arrange their tasks in a way where they don’t share communal space; most communication between staff is handled via phone or radio; and when interaction cannot be avoided, everyone uses the 6 foot social distancing rule, even if outdoors.

Strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols of both animal and human spaces remain in place, but there is extra focus on human self care, as well. For Keepers, getting sick is scary not only from a personal standpoint, but with such a small staff, it means even more work for coworkers. So everyone is doing their best to stay healthy for the animals and each other.

When it comes to repairs and improvements, the work is still in progress, but it has been slowed. With services and businesses having to close or reduce hours, which is absolutely understandable, the staff does what we can with supplies we already have on hand. We look forward to picking up right where we left off as soon as everyone is back in business.

We still consider ourselves fortunate to be thought of by so many in our community. Several zoo sponsors and patrons have donated to animal enrichment, including Ms. Hope Henry, Zoo Crew member, with some fun enrichment items. Plus US Foods in Flowood, and Salad Days of Flora gave our animals some fresh produce – some of it very different from daily diet requirements – which has been a nice addition for both animal and keeper. (Want to donate to the staff for the animals or repairs? Check out our enrichment page, look into “adopting” an animal, or you can make a monetary donation HERE.)

We want to assure everyone that our plans for completing repairs, undergoing USDA inspection, and reopening to the public have not changed, just the timeline.

ZoosFlash March 2020

Daylight Saving Time Begins

Tomorrow at 2 am (Sunday morning), we will all be SPRINGING FORWARD one hour!

How does it affect the exotic animals in our care? Much like it effects people and companion animals: everything just seems a little “off” for a day or two. The JZ Keepers make little adjustments here and there with schedules and enrichment, just like we do, and things stay right on track.

Tips to survive time change

VOLUNTEER LANDSCAPING 8 am to 11 am Saturday 03/14

Zoo Area Progressive Partnership and Keep Jackson Beautiful will be leading the Jackson Zoo Crew volunteers in planning and planting spring growth this Saturday starting at 8 a.m. The focus will be on the zoo’s Capitol Street entrance, the flower beds around zoo Admissions, and the Livingston Train Station.

We encourage wearing closed toed shoes and gloves, weather appropriate gear, and bringing any tools you can use and then take back home with you. Good to have are loppers, pruners, shears, small shovels and hoes, and we can always use any extra mulch, people with mowers/weedeaters, and pressure washers.

To participate, please RSVP to the left or email Miss Ginger HERE.

Also, since spring weather can be so touch and go, keep an eye on the Volunteer Landscaping FB event for any changes or postponements.

Interested in becoming a Jackson Zoo Keeper? If you love wildlife, have at least a high school diploma, can lift 50 lbs regularly, and like a challenge, you have the beginnings of a life in animal care.

Go to THIS WEB PAGE and start the process today!

ZoosFlash February 2020

We are very impressed with and appreciative of Revitalize Mississippi for their work in the Discovery Zoo demo. 

Although the barns were the basis for MANY memories in the community, it was decided in in the early 2010’s that they were not meeting modern standards for properly caring for or housing our Discovery and Contact Yard animals. The buildings had been quickly built in the 1970’s, given a face lift in the mid 1980’s, but had continued to fall further into disrepair until the animals were moved to more modern quarters on zoo grounds in 2016.

Jim, Andy, and the friendly crew of Revitalize MS came in and cleared the foundations within a week, and at no charge to the Zoo.

Planning for the rebuild started in 2013, and the City of Jackson is currently working with the Jackson Zoo staff to finalize the work and start bringing back the popular Contact Yard as the first phase. Interacting with different types of animals at a young age can create a real appreciation for all the unique and beautiful creatures that share our world.

Since there are several ideas for other fun and educational exhibits in the space, the Discovery Zoo rebuild will probably be an ongoing and expensive project, but well worth the efforts. 

Thank you, Revitalize Mississippi!

Crews from City of Jackson Parks and Recreation have come out to do a different kind of clearing, as well as some patching along the way!

For almost a week, there were trimmers, loppers, blowers, weed eaters, and trucks dragging away debris as they got the zoo flora ready for spring blooming.

They are also doing repair work as they go, fixing a few concerning sinkholes along paths and boundaries.

We not only appreciate the work, but the respect that they showed for the animals that were enriched by all the activity!

Huge Jackson Zoo SALUTE going out to UMMC students who volunteered to help our Keepers during the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service!

A group of ten or so students came out to power clean and re-perch exhibits (while the animals were in another area, of course – safety first!), which freed up our hardworking JZ Keepers to do more detailed projects for the animals.

Daily cleaning can often take up most of the hours in a shift, so having folks that understand the importance of specific cleaning needs is very helpful. We wish them the best in their studies, and hope to see them again in the future!

Feeling the need to nom?

Remember that JZ members can show their member cards and receive a 15% discount off their entire dine-in order at our Member Partner Restaurants: Iron Horse Grill, Sal & Mookies, Broad Street, Bravo!, Brent’s Drugs, Barellhouse, Fenian’s Pub, Twisted Pretzel, Dippin Dots, and Brick Street Pops! 

ZoosFlash! Weekend Schedule Aug 21-23

Friday August 21 – Members Only

12 noon openDippin Dots, Brick Street Pops, Pepsi and other treats availableSocially distanced Endangered Species Carousel rides available ($2 each)2 pm Press Event with City of Jackson Parks & Recreation Director Ison B. Harris Jr3:30 pm Close

Saturday August 22 – General Admission and Members

10 am openDippin Dots, Brick Street Pops, Pepsi, and treats availableSocially distanced Endangered Species Carousel rides all day ($2 each)2 pm Terry Vandeventer’s Living Reptile Museum4 pm close

Sunday August 23 – General Admission and Members

1 pm openDippin Dots, Brick Street Pops, Pepsi, and treats availableSocially distanced Endangered Species Carousel rides all day ($2 each)2 pm Freedom Ranch Outreach Birds of Prey Presentation4 pm close

Reserving tickets or member passes online

General Admission Ticket Reservations

Go to https://jacksonzoo.org/shop Choose your ticket with your preferred available date Reserve at least one adult age 16 or older Click ADD TO CART Continue shopping for other adults (13 and up) and children (2-12 years old, under 2 years are free) on the SAME DATE, then click ADD TO CART Go to CART Use code JZReserve to pay on arrival with cash, debit or credit, or Click CHECKOUT to pay with credit, debit through PayPal Print or save your order with BARCODE to bring with you to Admissions on the day of your visit

Member Pass Reservations

Go to https://jacksonzoo.org/shop Choose the ticket with your preferred available date Reserve at least one adult age 16 or older Click ADD TO CART Continue shopping for other adults (13 and up) and children (2-12 years old, under 2 years are free) on the SAME DATE, click ADD TO CART Go to CART Use code MJZ2020-08 zero out the charges Click CHECKOUT Print or save your order with BARCODE to bring with you to Admissions on the day of your visit Be prepared to show member card or valid ID to prove active membership. An inactive membership at the gate will invalidate the reservation, and the guest will be charged regular admission.

MEMBERSHIPS THAT WERE ACTIVE ON SEPT. 30, 2019, HAVE BEEN EXTENDED, AND REMAIN ACTIVE. Memberships that expired BEFORE September 30 could not be extended. Although they will be kept on file, our membership program is on hold, so new or renewed memberships are unavailable at this time. Former members can purchase daily general admission tickets.

Questions about your membership? Email admissions@jacksonzoo.org or call 601-352-2580 ext 231 between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday.

IMPORTANT: NEW COVID-19 GUIDELINES

ADMISSION MUST BE SECURED ONLINE. Daily tickets and JZ Member reservations are now required BEFORE arrival, and can be purchased/reserved online in our SHOP. Walk ups are not guaranteed entry. Only 500 persons are allowed in the park per day. Groups must be 10 persons or less. FACE MASKS ARE REQUIREDunless medically or physically exempt. NOTE: Until animal experts can find a way to make a tiger or a chimp wear a mask, all humans in the park will need to comply. We understand that some human children are very much like our animals when it comes to wearing a mask, but we ask that you try, maybe using the visit as practice to help keep our beloved animals safe. All guests and staff must abide by the 6′ social distancing measures at all times. Guests must follow the adjusted directional park trail (download current park map HERE)  All high-volume public rooms and spaces remain closed until further notice: Playgrounds, Gertrude C Ford Education Building, Water Creatures, Backyard Creatures, and Splash Pad. Gift Shop will have touch free outside access, and rides on the Endangered Species Carousel are limited and socially distanced with pretty bows, courtesy of Zoo Area Progressive Partnership ZAPP. (The Livingston Train is currently not running, but scheduled to return.)  Dippin’Dots, Brick Street Pops, and other treats will be available near the cafe seating area, and Pepsi vending machines are on grounds. No outside food or coolers are allowed inside the zoo, and all goodies must remain at the Cafe seating area. Social distancing rules must be followed while seated. Staff cleaning schedules have been increased for regular disinfecting, but we ask that you try not to touch windows or signs, if possible. We’ve added several sanitizing stations throughout the park.

Why visit the Jackson Zoo?

Get out of the house, taking a break from school and work with the family.Visit with and learn about some amazingly beautiful animals from all over the world.Check in with the dedicated JZ Staff and see their progress.Support an important Jackson attraction that has been in the community for over 100 years.

The Jackson Zoo is YOUR zoo. The more you visit, the more we can do in the future!

Copyright 2020 The Jackson Zoo

ZoosFlash! Opening to the Public Aug. 22!

The Jackson Zoo will welcome weekend guests THIS SATURDAY, August 22nd, at 10 am!

Of course, due to COVID-19 concerns, we are currently restricted in both capacity (under 500 persons per day) and hours (Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm, and Sundays 1 pm to 4 pm).

We have also instituted standard CDC approved safety guidelines throughout the park:

mandatory online advance ticket purchase and member reservation mask and social distancing requirements directional zoo paths additional sanitizing stations increased surface cleaning and other measures that will keep our animals, staff, and visitors better protected from illness.

SPECIAL MEMBERS’ DAY FRIDAY AUGUST 21

We wanted to share our very first day with our Zoo members, and invite them to joins us FRIDAY AUGUST 21st from 12 noon to 3:30 pm. This members-only viewing with our long time friends and neighbors will help gently re-introduce both staff and animals to increased human presence. We look forward to seeing you!

Any membership that was active on September 30, 2019, has had its expiration extended to reflect the length of our closure, and so remains active now*. Since our daily capacity is limited, all tickets or passes (even member visits) must be purchased or reserved before arrival to the park. Walk ups are not guaranteed entry.

Member Instructions

(please plan one day’s visit per order)

Go to https://jacksonzoo.org/shop Choose the number of MEMBER Reservations for Adults on a specific date that are included in your original membership Click ADD TO CART Click back to the SHOP to add number of children (no more than included in your original membership) Click ADD TO CART Use the code MJZ2020-08 in the coupon box to remove the cost of admission Proceed to check out (no exchange of funds will occur) Bring the order with barcode (either printed or on personal device) to Admissions with your member info on the day of your visit Your order will be completed at no charge with active membership

Please note that members will still have to scan their member card or show proof of active membership to redeem their reservation. An inactive membership at the gate will invalidate the reservation, and the guest will be charged regular admission.

*Memberships that expired BEFORE September 30 could not be extended. Although they will be kept on file, our membership program is on hold, so new or renewed memberships are unavailable at this time. Former members can purchase daily general admission tickets.

Questions about your membership? Email admissions@jacksonzoo.org or call 601-352-2580 ext 231 between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday.

Eko the #SumatranTiger enjoys a summer treat! Photo by JZKeeper Alex

Copyright 2020 The Jackson Zoo